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Open Path

model Built Open, Then Privatized
service type Social Services
country United States
states CA, MA, PA, TX
government type state and local
license GNU Public License
HMIS repository
CAS repository


Open Path is a suite of open source software for governments’ Coordinated Access System (CAS) and Homeless Management Information Systems (HMIS), used to collect client-level data and data on the provision of housing and services to homeless individuals and families and persons at risk of homelessness. They’re two complementary tools that are jointly titled “Open Path.”

Open Path was created when Boston’s Department of Neighborhood Development hired Green River, a Vermont-based software development vendor, to create components of a CAS and HMIS for them. Boston released the resulting software under an open source license, allowing it to be reused freely. Boston came up with the data driven performance evaluation. Fort Worth seized it after Boston presented, and Boston received the changes they made. Green River now sells SaaS hosting for Open Path, although any government is also free to use Open Path without hiring Green River.

Green River identifies as an anti-vendor, trying to solve the solution and make the shared technology a resource. They’re hoping to make an impact by solving problems and making a living. By making that explicit, it helps with contracting and finances are transparent. It is hand in glove with the open source component.

About 14 agencies use Open Path at varying levels. Springfield, Fort Worth, Pittsburgh, the State of Massachusetts and State of Virginia, and statewide Michigan (nonprofits that receive federal funding).

Both the CAS and the HMIS are written in Ruby.